Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What are the worst remakes of all time?

For every good remake, there are 10 bad ones. No, seriously, there are.

Ironically, the genre most often remade is horror movies. This is the genre that most often has the worst remakes

Take from that what you will.

Without further ado, the worst Hollywood remakes are:

10. Psycho (1998): Remaking one of the quintessential horror movies of all time probably wasn’t a good idea. Remaking it as a shot-for-shot homage was definitely a mistake. For his part, Vince Vaughn played Norman Bates with gusto and aplomb. There was just nothing different or noteworthy about the performance. Julianne Moore is always good, as is Viggo Mortensen, but Anne Heche is not exactly what I would call solid – or endearing. This movie got a lot of press when it first came out. Luckily it has faded into oblivion since.

9. Clash of the Titans (2010): Sam Worthington is the current “it” actor who got launched on American audiences in a variety of projects – all before he proved his worth as an actor. This has happened a number of times. In some cases (Heath Ledger, Colin Farrell) it turned out to be a good thing. In others (Robert Pattinson) it has turned out to be a mistake. Worthington hasn’t exactly proven his acting chops but he has been rewarded with roles in ‘Avatar’ (and the sequel), ‘Terminator: Salvation,’ and ‘Clash of the Titans’ (and its upcoming sequel). Worthington isn’t the biggest problem in this film, though. That would go to a woefully cheesy script and some overblown special effects. Sometimes less really is more.

8. The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008): I like Jennifer Connelly and Kathy Bates a great deal. I tolerate Keanu Reeves because I liked Bill and Ted, ‘Speed’ and ‘Parenthood.’ I also think that Jayden Smith could be a great talent some day. So why did this movie stink? The premise. I get sick of these evil alien plots where they want to take over our world because we screwed it up. I know that – environmentally anyway – we have screwed it up. That still doesn’t make it a solid plotline. Reeves is as wooden as ever in the film and the scenes where he’s speaking a foreign language in a restaurant are hilariously bad – and not a in a good way. If you want genuine science fiction thrills – stick with the original.

7. Rollerball (2002): Okay, I admit the first one wasn’t great. It was ridiculously stupid and fun, though, so it gets a pass. The remake, though, could be one of the worst feats of film ever made. First off, Chris Klein and Rebecca Romijin are poor actors – both of them. They’re wooden and pretty. That’s all you can say about them. Jean Reno is usually solid, but even he can’t elevate this tripe. I don’t think it’s a surprise that Klein has essentially been lost in Hollywood D-list hell ever since this bomb hit theaters. No one should be subjected to this movie. No one.

6. Friday the 13th (2009): I take my slasher horror very seriously; just getting that out there. And, truth be told, ‘Friday the 13th’ is my favorite franchise. I was willing to give the remake a shot. Here’s the thing: Jason doesn’t run, he most certainly doesn’t dig tunnels and string up bells to alert him to the presence of interlopers on his land, he doesn’t keep girls alive in his tunnels for six months and he most certainly doesn’t protect his pot field from townies and tourists. This whole movie was a mess from beginning to end, despite the likeability of Jared Padalecki and Danielle Panabaker in the lead roles. Originally, a sequel was slated. Thankfully, the production company wised up and realized that fans were turning against the franchise – not flocking to it.

5. Stepford Wives (2004): The casting for this movie works – on paper. I mean who didn’t think that Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, Bette Midler, Glenn Closer and Christopher Walken were going to make cinematic magic? Well, they made cinematic something, but it certainly wasn’t magic. What should have been a rollicking good ride turned into an ‘After School Special’ on being yourself in the blink of an eye. When I think back on this movie, I can’t actually remember one redeeming quality about it. How sad is that?

4. Charlie’s Angels (2000): Actually, either movie and this past year’s television debacle could all have made the list. I opted to go for the first movie, though, because that’s when people had the most hope for the franchise. On the surface, the casting of the uber-athletic Cameron Diaz and Lucy Lui, along with the fiery personality of Drew Barrymore, seemed like a safe bet. When it came down to it, though, the movie was pretty much a farce. While the actresses all looked like they were having fun, the writing was still pure drivel and Bill Murray actually looked like he was constipated more than anything else. So why, when the first one was such a creative flub, did they make a second movie (that was even worse) and another television show? Yeah, I don’t understand it either.

3. V (2009): The cast of the ABC reboot was top-notch – especially lead Elizabeth Mitchell. The problem with the remake was that it didn’t have any heart. The special effects were certainly more stylized (no green lizard puppets in sight) and, quite frankly the performers were better, too, but the ‘V’ reboot lacked the heart the original had. Morris Chestnut was infinitely better looking than Robert Englund, but Willie was still a better character (and much more lovable) than Ryan Nichols. In reality, it was only Mitchell’s Erica Evans who was a true standout. She emulated Faye Grant’s Juliet Parrish in the best possible ways. The show hit a high point in the second season, bringing in original actors Jane Badler and Marc Singer to shake up the show. We never got to find out if it would get any better, though, since cancellation never gave show runners the chance to fix what they broke.

2. Halloween (2007): Rob Zombie is actually a pretty good filmmaker. ‘House of 1,000 Corpses’ showed real promise and ‘The Devil’s Rejects’ was perverse perfection. So how did he screw up ‘Halloween’ so badly? Actually, I’ll tell you how. The original ‘Halloween’ was all about atmosphere. It was also about a child who killed his sister for no apparent reason. This wasn’t a child that was beaten or mistreated. He was the son of regular folks, in a regular town, with a regular childhood. The horror of the original was all about knowing the face of evil but not the rationale of evil. The remake recast Michael Meyers with a white trash family, a stripper mother, a sociopathic stepfather and sexually promiscuous sister (okay, that happened in the original, too, it was just done with more class). The whole family dropped the f-bomb every five seconds. There was no fear or horror in the remake because there weren’t any characters with rooting value. Rob Zombie also needs to stop casting his talentless wife in his movies, but that’s a whole other topic.

1. Planet of the Apes (2001): Mark Wahlberg has all the appeal of burnt toast as a performer. Sorry, but it’s true. That being said, this movie wouldn’t have been any better with someone else in the lead role. Tim Burton is one of those filmmakers who either is really on or really off – and he was really off in this adaptation. Not only was the writing horrific, but the performances – with the possible exception of Tim Roth – were all flat and monotonous. This is one film that can’t disappear from the American movie zeitgeist fast enough.

Honorable mentions:

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010): The original is a classic, with witty humor and a star making introduction to Johnny Depp. The remake is vapid, lifeless and not even remotely scary – everything you want a horror movie to be.

Arthur (2011): Helen Mirren must be really embarrassed. She’s so far above this material it’s not even funny. She must have needed the payday – that’s all I can figure. Russell Brand is enjoyable enough as the title character, but the plot itself is old and tired.

Dukes of Hazzard (2005): What was great about the original television show is that these were good old boys with a love of home and family. The remake was goofy, sometimes unintentionally racist, and populated by untalented actors – like the woeful Jessica Simpson. That being said, Willie Nelson pot jokes never get old for some reason and James Roday is always funny. They’re the only redeeming qualities, though.

The Wicker Man (2006): There was a time when I liked Nicholas Cage. Apparently, it was a long time ago. This movie tries to be surreal and thought invoking. It manages to be boring and convoluted. Skip it.

The Omen (2006): This was another horror movie that shouldn’t have been remade. The original still holds up and, while the kid is appropriately creepy, the rest of the cast looks like they’re mailing it in.

What do you think? What are the worst remakes?


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